My second foray into trying out my new gluten-free cookbook was crepes. I determined that crepes would be a perfect vehicle for both dulce de leche that I planned to make, and would pair well with bellinis for breakfast. I didn’t have dulce de leche prepared, and we didn’t have bellinis, but I decided to make the crepes anyway. I had blackberries and lime curd around, so I just couldn’t talk myself out of them.
Notice a theme so far this year, in addition to bread?
I love weekend breakfast. Recently, this has involved me baking every weekend, but I changed things up last weekend by trying Almond Flour Pancakes. It was a very easy and fast recipe, gluten-free but with a short, uncomplicated ingredient list. There was also a pomegranate syrup I could have made, but I was absolutely fine with the pancake syrup I had in the fridge.
[As I post this, WordPress tells me it’s my 400th post. This is actually the 415th new recipe I’ve reviewed. I haven’t counted how many old favorite recipes I’ve blogged about here.]
After long last, I’ve started cooking in the kitchen in our new place. We moved out of our house at the end of July (during which time I tried to use up a lot of my pantry), and then house-sat for a friend for a month. After that, I moved my husband, dog, and all of our stuff to St. Louis, while I’ve spent the last 6 weeks continuing to work in Champaign. I drive to St. Louis every weekend (I have 2 more weeks to go), and I simply don’t have a lot of motivation or inspiration (or time) to cook in the meantime. I baked the first full weekend I spent in St. Louis, and most weekends after that; but it took me a full month to actually turn on the range!
We all know that weekend breakfast or brunch is my favorite meal, so it’s fitting that the first new recipe I make (and that turns out) in the new apartment is a recipe for pancakes. Pancakes aren’t my favorite in general – I prefer waffles, but I threw out my waffle maker in the move. But, pancakes are quick and easy to make, and I really enjoy adding things to them. I tried apple pancakes last weekend that really didn’t turn out in any form or fashion, but this weekend I made some Banana Pancakes that really hit the spot.
The recipe was a standard pancake recipe, made with buttermilk and a little vanilla extract. The special thing about these was the addition of diced (not mashed) banana; I used 2 bananas to get the 1.5 cups I needed. I didn’t have actual buttermilk, but I did have some buttermilk powder that I moved with me and that I decided would be good to use up. The recipe also calls for a cinnamon-rum syrup that I wasn’t going to bother making, so I added a little cinnamon to the batter. I’m still not an expert on making pancakes (I always think mine turn out ugly), but I always cook them on an electric griddle set to 375F because I saw that temperature in a pancake recipe once.
Using a third cup measure, I got about 10 pancakes. The batter was very thin, so these were not the thicker pancakes that the picture in the recipe shows. I had to spread the banana chunks apart so they were evenly distributed throughout the pancakes. I cooked them about 2 minutes per side.
These were really tasty. The bananas made the pancakes sweet enough that I didn’t need syrup with them. The few bites I had without bananas were okay, and were lightly cinnamoned from the spice I added, but it was a pleasure to have soft chunks of warm banana in my pancakes.
My only complaint with these pancakes was how thin they were; it may have been because I used buttermilk powder and water in place of the buttermilk. At some point I’ll try to make these with real buttermilk to see if that makes a difference; otherwise, I’ll probably have to cut down on the amount of liquid I add because I think these will function better with a thicker batter. One other thing: the recipe included pecans, but I just didn’t have any and I think they would have been an excellent addition. I’ll try to be sure to include those, and you should as well if you like them. Overall, I think this is a good recipe, and it’s one that I’ll make again.
With just me and Alex, we don’t usually eat a whole batch of any given thing that I make. Pancake recipes, for example, are meant to serve 4-6 people. While we can (and often do) just cover the pancakes and eat them the next day (or snack on them later the same day, sometimes), pancakes also freeze well.
Last weekend I made pancakes because I had the last remnants of a gallon of milk, and I really needed to use it up. It was still good but was already a few days past its sell-by date, otherwise I would have made pudding or a fair amount of chocolate milk to encourage me to drink it up fast. Pancakes are appealing for using up milk because they have a rather high milk-to-flour ratio; sometimes it’s as high as equal parts milk and flour. And, I could freeze them.
I made 2 different pancake recipes. For breakfast, I actually ate some of the first batch of pancakes I made. I made half a batch of Alton Brown’s Whole Wheat Pancakes recipe from I’m Just Here for More Food. I used white whole wheat flour, milk + vinegar in place of buttermilk, and oil in place of melted butter. I used a quarter cup scoop to measure out the batter and cooked them at 375F for 3 minutes on one side, and about 2 on the other. This yielded about 8 pancakes for me. These were fine. I could tell they were made with white whole wheat flour, but that wasn’t a bad thing. They were good whole wheat pancakes without being too heavy, but that may have partly been my choice of flour.
After breakfast, I went back to make more pancakes. This time I made Everyday Pancakes. Whereas Alton Brown’s recipe used equal amounts flour and buttermilk, this recipe used 2 cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups regular milk. I made a full batch of them, but I used 2 tablespoons of sugar instead of one, and used oil in place of butter. I used a quarter cup scoop to ladle the batter, and I cooked them on an electric griddle at 375F for about 2-3 minutes on the first side, until the pancakes were bubbly on top, and about a minute on the other side. This yielded 14 pancakes. These were also decent pancakes. They tasted less healthy/wheaty and more normal than the whole wheat pancakes (which makes sense, since these weren’t whole wheat).
I packaged up the pancakes in bundles of three. I wrapped each bundle in plastic wrap and put them in freezer bags; I was able to fit about 3 bundles of pancakes into a 1-quart size bag. I can’t tell you how long they’ll last, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be at least a few months, depending on how well you wrap up your pancakes. [I’ve eaten scones I’ve frozen for longer than that, and they’ve been fine.] I ate some of the pancakes the other morning for breakfast, after they’d been frozen about 5 days, and they were just fine.
Both of these recipes were just fine fresh, and whichever I ate for breakfast this morning (I didn’t separate them when I bundled them up, and didn’t try to figure it out this morning) was still as good as when they were originally made. As a bonus, I don’t have to make myself breakfast on the weekends for a little while unless I want to.
For breakfast on Saturday I made Carrot Cake Pancakes! I’d wanted to make these since I saw them in the January issue of Cooking Light, but hadn’t found the right time to make them since they took a little extra preparation (shredding carrots). Also, Alex wasn’t too interested in them, so I decided to make them when we had a friend over for brunch.
I grated the carrots with my KitchenAid stand mixer attachment, but I still had a couple of larger pieces mixed in. I used pecans since I didn’t have walnuts to put in the batter. I made sour milk for these since I didn’t have buttermilk. It seemed like a lot of ingredients with all the spices and the carrots and nuts, but the batter was pretty simple to put together. I spread a quarter cup of batter on my electric griddle and cooked them at 375F for 2 minutes on one side, and about 1 minute on the other. They weren’t the prettiest pancakes I’ve ever made. I didn’t bother making the honey butter because we don’t eat butter on our pancakes.
I thought these were pretty good. I liked the bites with pecans as a nice little surprise. These were perfectly spiced, and not too incredibly sweet; if you don’t like carrot cake because it’s too sweet, these are a good alternative. I didn’t need syrup with these pancakes at all. I had a few larger shreds of carrots in these, which didn’t cook down too well – they were still a little crunchy. The finer shreds of carrots cooked into the pancakes well, though. I liked these a lot, and I’d make them again for a brunch.
What to do with sourdough starter when I already had plenty, yet wanted to be sure to feed it so I could use it the next day? I knew I had a few other waffle recipes that required me to make the batter the night before, so I’d be able to use up some starter and feed it for the next day. I decided to make this Sourdough Waffles recipe since it took a little more sourdough starter than the other recipe.
This batter took butter (I used oil), milk, sourdough starter, salt, brown sugar, and flour. It rested for about 12 hours overnight before I added eggs and baking soda to finish the batter. I used 2/3 cup batter in my waffle iron, and this made 6 waffles.
These were pretty good. They were not as light or bready as the last sourdough waffles I made, but I liked them that way. These waffles had a little more heft to them, and seemed much more like standard waffles. They were a pretty golden color. I’m not sure, but I may have liked this recipe better than the Old-Fashioned Maine Sourdough Waffles that I made the other day (Alex definitely liked these better). I also expect that these will be better as leftovers than those were. I’d definitely make this recipe again.
I’ve fallen behind in cooking after being sick for the past few days. I actually only made one recipe between last Sunday and today. When I got up this morning, though, I didn’t feel like sweating over a bowl of chicken noodle soup (like I did yesterday at lunch). I decided it would probably be a decent time to make Cooking Light’s Oatmeal Pancakes. This recipe looked like it would be incredibly quick, with minimal mess to the kitchen, and I’d be able to cook the pancakes on my griddle so it wouldn’t warm up the house too much in the freak heat wave we’re having.
I was surprised by the slight amount of flour that went into these (a quarter cup). I didn’t have quick oats, so I used regular oats. I made sour milk in place of the buttermilk, and used oil instead of melted butter. I mixed together the dry ingredients, added the wet, and preheated my electric griddle to 375F (which is what I cook all other pancakes at, usually successfully). I forgot to spray my griddle with cooking spray before making the pancakes.
My batter looked a little soupy, so I looked at the reviews of the recipe to see what they suggested if you use regular oats, which take longer to cook. It was too late for me to soak my oats in advance (as one reviewer had), so I decided to see how much milk the oats would soak up while the griddle heated, and made a couple of pancakes before adding flour. I didn’t like the way the liquid spread out from the oats, so I added about a tablespoon of flour to the remaining 2/3s of the batter. The rest of the pancakes looked better, and more pancake-like, with the extra flour.
These were okay. I enjoyed the hint of cinnamon, and the crunch of the oats. The use of regular oats may have changed the texture of the batter, because the pancakes were still pretty dense, and slightly doughy, even though they looked done enough on the outside. I didn’t expect them to be light and fluffy, but I didn’t expect to have difficulties getting them done enough since I’ve learned how to properly make pancakes on my griddle this year. Considering I’m still a little sick, though, it’s possible that I was impatient and didn’t cook the pancakes quite long enough.
All in all, these tasted fine and seemed pretty healthy. These were very oaty pancakes, and it was nice to have something without as much flour for a change. If you’re going to use regular oats, definitely soak them in the buttermilk/sour milk a little first, or try adding extra flour when you make them. I wonder if you might lose the crunch of the oats if you soak them first, though. This recipe was okay, but considering there’s lots of other pancake recipes I like, I’m not sure if I’ll try it again.
[I actually wrote this up the first weekend of October, but didn’t post it as I went on a catch-up posting spree and decided that anyone who reads this blog would need a break. Since the 3rd, I’ve been both busy and sick, so I’m just now getting to putting up this review.]
Last week I wanted sourdough waffles but couldn’t find a recipe to make that morning. This weekend, I planned ahead and made the batter for Old-Fashioned Maine Sourdough Waffles the night before I wanted them.
This recipe is nearly identical to the other sourdough waffle recipe on the King Arthur Flour website, except that this one called for both AP and whole wheat flour. I made sour milk since I didn’t have buttermilk. I was a little nervous about letting something with such a high milk content rest on the counter overnight, even though my kitchen was cool. I reassured myself that the yeast action from the sourdough starter would take care of things – and it did.
In morning, the sponge looked just like a sourdough starter, except a little darker from the whole wheat flour. I added eggs, vegetable oil, salt, and baking soda to it before I mixed it up. There was some furious bubbling from the baking soda interacting with the sponge, which I thought was pretty cool. This made 9 waffles in my waffle iron. The recipe said to cook for 2 minutes, but that wasn’t actually quite done enough inside as it should be, so I cooked all subsequent waffles as I normally do (until steam stops coming from the waffle maker).
These smelled amazing while they cooked – just like bread baking. They were very light, and had a chewier texture than regular waffles. They definitely had a different flavor from regular waffles – breadier and not as sweet. They had character on their own without adding syrup. Alex said that he had one or two bites that tasted sour, but that was probably an issue of me not mixing the sponge before I added the rest of the ingredients, and not mixing well enough in general. I really enjoyed these waffles, and I really liked the texture. However, they are not good as leftovers, so when I make them again, I’ll have the recipe so that I only make what we’ll eat that day.
Believe it or not, I’m not actually that huge a fan of pancakes, but I’ve tried enough pancake recipes this year, searching for the best one(s), that I ought to have it as a separate tag on this blog. Thus, one weekend morning I made Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes.
This pancake recipe uses 2 parts whole wheat flour and 1 part all-purpose flour. I like this because I used to add whole wheat flour to my pancakes and waffles before I started my recipe goal this year. As the title points out, buttermilk and blueberries also are key ingredients. This recipe also includes a little vanilla extract, which is unusual for most recipes; perhaps it offsets the whole wheat a little bit while adding few calories.
These cooked up very easily, and very well. I really enjoyed these. They were both delicious and healthy. The author suggested wrapping and freezing them, which we did. I normally stick with yogurt or smoothies for breakfast, but one morning I really wanted a stack of these, and was glad I had them. They were very good reheated, a nice change from yogurt or other quick breakfasts. I’ll make this recipe again.